Blast of high intensity shook Darjeeling’s Chowkbazar on Saturday, the first such incident since the indefinite shutdown to press for a separate state of Gorkhaland began in the Hills over two months ago.
Police booked Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) chief Bimal Gurung and several others under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for their alleged involvement in the blast.
In the Darjeeling blast, though no casualty was reported, police said several shops were destroyed due to the explosion that took place around 12.50 am in front of the old supermarket near Singamari Motor Syndicate in Chowkbazar.
“It was a high-intensity blast, parts of the explosives were found at a distance of 30 to 40 m from the blast spot. Glass windows of a nearby building were damaged. The target seems to have been the police personnel who were patrolling the area. Had this blast taken place during daytime, it would have led to several deaths,” Darjeeling SP said.
A case has been initiated at Sadar police station against Bimal Gurung, Prakash Gurung, Praveen Subba and others under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 121 (waging war), 121A (attempting to wage war), 122 (collecting arms) of the IPC, Explosive Substance Act, UAPA, West Bengal Maintenance of Public Order Act and Professional Diploma in Public Procurement Act, said SP.
Meanwhile, demanding an NIA probe into the incident, GJM claimed the blast was planned and executed by those who are not in favour of Gorkhaland.
“GJM condemns and protests against the blast that took place in the heart of Darjeeling town. We believe it was the act of those who do not want Gorkhaland state to be formed. This was a planned move aimed at bringing disrepute to the movement and the demand for Gorkhaland,” Bimal Gurung said in a statement.
“While the entire Darjeeling region has been fortified and turned into a garrison of sorts, it is beyond our understanding how a blast could take place in the heart of the city at night, that too around 200 m from the Darjeeling Sadar police station and around 100 m from the office of the deputy superintendent of police. We demand a probe at the earliest by a high-level committee comprising NIA officials under the supervision of the Supreme Court to ensure an unbiased investigation,” he added.